Segway’s egg-shaped prototype wheelchair crashes at tech show

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Segway's prototype wheelchair crashes during demonstration

Segway’s egg-shaped self-balancing wheelchair, dubbed the S-Pod, crashed during a demonstration at the world’s biggest tech show, CES 2020.

According to reports, the S-Pod was undergoing a test by a journalist at the time. The rider had accelerated the vehicle before accidentally crashing into a wall.

Although Segway reports no injury in the crash, however, the S-Pod will not be available for any further demonstrations.

“In no way is a [malfunction] a total loss,” said Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research. “It is still a sign to the public that the company is close to the finished product.”

Furthermore, the S-Pod’s design allows users to access enclosed spaces such as airports, theme parks, and work campuses.

Segway’s director of marketing Jeff Wu told the BBC the concept model did not have a safety belt, but that his company intended to add one.

Moreover, the demo model had received significant media attention for its design. It is based on ‘geospheres’ from the film Jurassic World Many on social media have also compared the vehicle to the hover chairs in the animated Pixar film Wall-E. Additionally, the model can reach speeds of up to 24mph, though the CES prototype was limited to 7mph. 

Beyond laughing at the crash, there are some more serious points to make about Segway’s S-Pod. It could be a fantastic technological development for wheelchair users when it actually comes to the market.

The S-Pod is expected to go on sale in early 2021.

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